bobquasit: (Default)
I don't know if LJ is dying or if it's just the holiday, but it's awfully quiet around here! I don't feel like writing much myself. I'm feeling lousy in all sorts of ways.

But I guess I'd better do some updates.

- Sebastian got the Nutshell Kids book collection in his stocking. They're four tiny little books by Maurice Sendak, and were all turned into songs by Carole King for the Really Rosie TV special. Sebastian has been reading the books every night...it has been a really special time for us.

- I've managed to make flossing a regular part of Sebastian's evening routine. It should be a big help to him for the rest of his life.

- I picked up a card reader for $14 at BJs yesterday. You see, when I bought my computer I saved a few bucks by eliminating the card reader; I didn't really know what it was, and it sounded useless. But my camera needs to be powered on in order to transfer pictures from the SD card to the computer, and the process is very clunky; Windows doesn't interact well with my camera.

The connection often fails - not the actual wire, it's more like the camera goes into sleep mode and the computer forgets it existed - and even when it works, the transfer speed is really slow. It took nearly an hour to empty the 2GB chip!

What really pushed me over the brink was my attempt to show photos and video from our Disney trip to our families. Both of our families came over (on different days), and I tried various ways to get the pictures to display on our TV. A DVD simply failed. A data CD gave the message that the photos were an incompatible size. It was really frustrating!

Since we'd recently gotten a new router and hooked it up to the Wii, I downloaded their new Photo Channel 1.1 - it was free. It was also rather promising, and I was excited to see that you could use it to show photos and videos from an SD card. Once again there were problems, though. I discovered to my horror that Windows wouldn't allow me to copy pictures TO the camera. It was a one-way connection!

Our families aren't likely to visit again for a long time, but nonetheless I went and picked up a card reader. It let me throw about 30 photos and 30 videos on the SD card quickly and easily - it's SO good when technology works well. I put the card in the Wii, and was amazed at the results.

You can view individual photos and videos, edit them, turn them into puzzles, zoom in, etc. etc. You can also play videos backwards - and we all just about died of laughter watching Sebastian shoot up a water slide.

It was the slide show feature that was most impressive, though. It has a lot of options for control, but the default settings produced a simply lovely show. Photos and videos were shown in the order they were taken; the photos were displayed in various ways, zooming slowly in or out or across, with some really lovely and effective music playing as a soundtrack. Videos were intercut with the photos beautifully. Nintendo did a really great job, I must say!
bobquasit: (Default)
I've been using the same graphic program for at least twelve years now. I've become pretty comfortable with it over time. One nice thing about it is that it doesn't require an elaborate installation procedure. I just copy the files over to the hard drive, click on the executable, and it's ready to go.

Except. Although it worked on my old computer running Windows XP, it won't run on my new computer running XP. The old one was the "Home" edition, and the new one is the "Professional" edition (both of them 32-bit), but I don't see how that could be the problem; I've run the program successfully on other computers with the Professional edition.

The problem was a dll file. I tried copying it and installing it to my new system, but nothing worked. Given that the software was from 1996, it really seemed that I should look for a modern freeware replacement.

The problem was that so many modern graphics programs are so complicated! I don't want to have to spend a lot of time learning a new program, and about all sorts of advanced techniques that I don't need right now. I want a program that will do pretty much what the old program did, without a steep learning curve. I mean, I'm very good at learning new software, but my free time is limited!

So first I tried GIMP. It's open-source, freeware, and came highly recommended. But it turned out to be way more program than I needed. It's more like PhotoShop than my old painting program, and was so complicated that I found myself pretty much stymied when I tried to use it.

Later, I lucked upon Paint.net. It's just what I was looking for! A free, modern, and relatively easy-to-use graphics program that I could work with straight out of the box. It has advanced features, but they're not in my face - I can learn about them later, and in the meantime I can edit my images. And Sebastian can draw pictures. In fact, he drew his first picture with it a few days ago; a picture of Godzilla and Hedorah. I'll see if I can get his permission to post it here tonight.
bobquasit: (Default)
I've been using the same graphic program for at least twelve years now. I've become pretty comfortable with it over time. One nice thing about it is that it doesn't require an elaborate installation procedure. I just copy the files over to the hard drive, click on the executable, and it's ready to go.

Except. Although it worked on my old computer running Windows XP, it won't run on my new computer running XP. The old one was the "Home" edition, and the new one is the "Professional" edition (both of them 32-bit), but I don't see how that could be the problem; I've run the program successfully on other computers with the Professional edition.

The problem was a dll file. I tried copying it and installing it to my new system, but nothing worked. Given that the software was from 1996, it really seemed that I should look for a modern freeware replacement.

The problem was that so many modern graphics programs are so complicated! I don't want to have to spend a lot of time learning a new program, and about all sorts of advanced techniques that I don't need right now. I want a program that will do pretty much what the old program did, without a steep learning curve. I mean, I'm very good at learning new software, but my free time is limited!

So first I tried GIMP. It's open-source, freeware, and came highly recommended. But it turned out to be way more program than I needed. It's more like PhotoShop than my old painting program, and was so complicated that I found myself pretty much stymied when I tried to use it.

Later, I lucked upon Paint.net. It's just what I was looking for! A free, modern, and relatively easy-to-use graphics program that I could work with straight out of the box. It has advanced features, but they're not in my face - I can learn about them later, and in the meantime I can edit my images. And Sebastian can draw pictures. In fact, he drew his first picture with it a few days ago; a picture of Godzilla and Hedorah. I'll see if I can get his permission to post it here tonight.

Games

May. 22nd, 2008 11:09 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
I still haven't gotten around to tackling the TV problem on the computer.

But I've tried a bunch of games.

Neverwinter Nights Diamond edition - the one that came on a DVD and couldn't be returned at Best Buy - is a disappointment. I tried playing "Shadows of Undrentide". To my great annoyance, my hireling keeps trapping me! She moves next to me when I'm standing someplace, and I end up completely unable to move. It's just too annoying.

Oblivion is...not what I expected. I've played it a bit, but the beginning takes place in a dark dungeon. It's not boring, but it's not thrilling me to death, either.

So I've been playing Fable: The Lost Chapters. At first it was a bit twee, in an Englishy sort of way, but it has grown on me. I just wish I could figure out why my hero is so damned skinny and pale - and now it looks like his hair is turning gray!

Games

May. 22nd, 2008 11:09 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
I still haven't gotten around to tackling the TV problem on the computer.

But I've tried a bunch of games.

Neverwinter Nights Diamond edition - the one that came on a DVD and couldn't be returned at Best Buy - is a disappointment. I tried playing "Shadows of Undrentide". To my great annoyance, my hireling keeps trapping me! She moves next to me when I'm standing someplace, and I end up completely unable to move. It's just too annoying.

Oblivion is...not what I expected. I've played it a bit, but the beginning takes place in a dark dungeon. It's not boring, but it's not thrilling me to death, either.

So I've been playing Fable: The Lost Chapters. At first it was a bit twee, in an Englishy sort of way, but it has grown on me. I just wish I could figure out why my hero is so damned skinny and pale - and now it looks like his hair is turning gray!
bobquasit: (Default)
It arrived, and it looks really cool. But my monitor apparently won't work with it. The monitor isn't broken, mind you. I plugged it back in to my old machine, and it was fine. In fact, I'm using the old machine to write this right now.

But when I plug the monitor into the new machine and turned it on, nothing happened. Tried turning the monitor off and on, too. Nothing.

I'm not disappointed, because on some level I didn't expect it to work right away anyway. I wonder if the problem is that the monitor is simply too old? That seems very unlikely, but it IS over ten years old, I think. It's a Princeton Graphics 19-incher, an EO90.

I was planning on buying a new flatscreen anyway, so I'll probably get one tomorrow and see if that works instead. Does anyone know anything about LG as a brand? They have a 22-inch monitor that's $30 more than the Hannspree, but it seems to have much higher customer ratings - and the tech specs look considerably better too, to the extent that I understand them.

Funny, I'm just not that excited about the new system. But I'm not even disappointed at the anticlimax. Maybe I'm getting old.
bobquasit: (Default)
It arrived, and it looks really cool. But my monitor apparently won't work with it. The monitor isn't broken, mind you. I plugged it back in to my old machine, and it was fine. In fact, I'm using the old machine to write this right now.

But when I plug the monitor into the new machine and turned it on, nothing happened. Tried turning the monitor off and on, too. Nothing.

I'm not disappointed, because on some level I didn't expect it to work right away anyway. I wonder if the problem is that the monitor is simply too old? That seems very unlikely, but it IS over ten years old, I think. It's a Princeton Graphics 19-incher, an EO90.

I was planning on buying a new flatscreen anyway, so I'll probably get one tomorrow and see if that works instead. Does anyone know anything about LG as a brand? They have a 22-inch monitor that's $30 more than the Hannspree, but it seems to have much higher customer ratings - and the tech specs look considerably better too, to the extent that I understand them.

Funny, I'm just not that excited about the new system. But I'm not even disappointed at the anticlimax. Maybe I'm getting old.
bobquasit: (Default)
It's going to be delivered tomorrow by UPS. I'm kind of numb. How many years have I been waiting for this? Too long.

We're thinking of getting a new monitor, too. I saw some flatscreens at BJ's Wholesale Club; they have a 20.1" HP monitor for $229. Hmm, I see that Wal-Mart has a 21.6 Acer monitor for the same price.

Hmm, Best Buy has a Hannspree 22" monitor that can be rotated to a vertical position ([livejournal.com profile] charibdis has one like that; it's really cool) for $239. I wonder if Hannspree is a Chinese company?
bobquasit: (Default)
It's going to be delivered tomorrow by UPS. I'm kind of numb. How many years have I been waiting for this? Too long.

We're thinking of getting a new monitor, too. I saw some flatscreens at BJ's Wholesale Club; they have a 20.1" HP monitor for $229. Hmm, I see that Wal-Mart has a 21.6 Acer monitor for the same price.

Hmm, Best Buy has a Hannspree 22" monitor that can be rotated to a vertical position ([livejournal.com profile] charibdis has one like that; it's really cool) for $239. I wonder if Hannspree is a Chinese company?

The Weekend

May. 4th, 2008 08:42 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
They both just fell asleep.

I'm finally feeling better; whatever the problem was, my system purged itself over 24 hours (but was was a pretty awful night). I have a splitting sinus headache, but I'll take some Tylenol soon.

The computer is supposed to be delivered tomorrow. But Teri will be working for part of the day, so I don't know if we'll actually be able to receive it. I'm going to have to try to figure out how to best transfer data from the old system to the new one; any suggestions would be very much appreciated!

The Weekend

May. 4th, 2008 08:42 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
They both just fell asleep.

I'm finally feeling better; whatever the problem was, my system purged itself over 24 hours (but was was a pretty awful night). I have a splitting sinus headache, but I'll take some Tylenol soon.

The computer is supposed to be delivered tomorrow. But Teri will be working for part of the day, so I don't know if we'll actually be able to receive it. I'm going to have to try to figure out how to best transfer data from the old system to the new one; any suggestions would be very much appreciated!

Computer

Apr. 21st, 2008 10:07 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
Prices are going up on my prospective new computer every few days, so it's time to take action - soon. I've made virtually every decision. The one thing left for me to decide is the video card: either a MSI nVidia GeForce 9600GT OC 512MB GDDR3 PCI Express (2xDVI), or a MSI ATI Radeon RX3870 OC 512MB GDDR4 PCI Express 2.0 (2xDVI). The Radeon costs $30 more, and is supposed to be a little better. But the PCs for Everyone guy tells me that he prefers the GeForce, because it runs really well and is quieter than the Radeon.

I'm willing to spend the $30, but...I'm just not sure which would be the better option. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Computer

Apr. 21st, 2008 10:07 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
Prices are going up on my prospective new computer every few days, so it's time to take action - soon. I've made virtually every decision. The one thing left for me to decide is the video card: either a MSI nVidia GeForce 9600GT OC 512MB GDDR3 PCI Express (2xDVI), or a MSI ATI Radeon RX3870 OC 512MB GDDR4 PCI Express 2.0 (2xDVI). The Radeon costs $30 more, and is supposed to be a little better. But the PCs for Everyone guy tells me that he prefers the GeForce, because it runs really well and is quieter than the Radeon.

I'm willing to spend the $30, but...I'm just not sure which would be the better option. Does anyone have any suggestions?

New Mouse

Apr. 9th, 2008 09:36 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
I picked up a cheap new mouse, and it's working fine.

Since everyone thinks that I should get the better CPU and the better video card...I'm considering blowing a little extra and doing just that. I don't know what the economy is going to look like over the next five years - probably not good - and this new computer may have to last me for quite a while. Certainly my current computer isn't going to last much longer, even with a new mouse!

Edit: I almost forgot: it turns out that since I live in Rhode Island, I won't have to pay sales tax on the system! Despite the fact that I live less than 25 miles away from their repair facility.

New Mouse

Apr. 9th, 2008 09:36 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
I picked up a cheap new mouse, and it's working fine.

Since everyone thinks that I should get the better CPU and the better video card...I'm considering blowing a little extra and doing just that. I don't know what the economy is going to look like over the next five years - probably not good - and this new computer may have to last me for quite a while. Certainly my current computer isn't going to last much longer, even with a new mouse!

Edit: I almost forgot: it turns out that since I live in Rhode Island, I won't have to pay sales tax on the system! Despite the fact that I live less than 25 miles away from their repair facility.
bobquasit: (Default)
Which of these would be better, do you think?

Assuming that all else is equal:

A Dual-Core Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E8400 3.00GHz 1333FSB 6MB Cache CPU and an MSI nVidia GeForce 8600GT Twin Turbo 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express

Or a Dual-Core Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6550 2.33GHz 1333FSB 4MB Cache and an MSI nVidia GeForce 9600GT OC 512MB GDDR3 PCI Express?

Edited because I'm an idiot.

Basically I'm considering trading off CPU for a better video card. Sorry for the mistake!
bobquasit: (Default)
Which of these would be better, do you think?

Assuming that all else is equal:

A Dual-Core Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E8400 3.00GHz 1333FSB 6MB Cache CPU and an MSI nVidia GeForce 8600GT Twin Turbo 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express

Or a Dual-Core Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6550 2.33GHz 1333FSB 4MB Cache and an MSI nVidia GeForce 9600GT OC 512MB GDDR3 PCI Express?

Edited because I'm an idiot.

Basically I'm considering trading off CPU for a better video card. Sorry for the mistake!
bobquasit: (Default)
My computer is dying even more quickly than I expected. The mouse is now failing more than half the time. When I unplug it and plug it back in, I get an error message telling me that Windows can't recognize this strange USB device. Software is failing without explanation or warning.

I've backed up a lot of stuff - this will not kill me. And I'm working on backing up the few remaining key files (like pictures and video). But I need to figure out what to do next. Should I reinstall Windows? I think I can dig up the original installation disk. Do I need to reformat my hard drive first? That prospect worries me a lot, because there's data I'd definitely lose - not critical data, but useful stuff.

Any suggestions or advice?
bobquasit: (Default)
My computer is dying even more quickly than I expected. The mouse is now failing more than half the time. When I unplug it and plug it back in, I get an error message telling me that Windows can't recognize this strange USB device. Software is failing without explanation or warning.

I've backed up a lot of stuff - this will not kill me. And I'm working on backing up the few remaining key files (like pictures and video). But I need to figure out what to do next. Should I reinstall Windows? I think I can dig up the original installation disk. Do I need to reformat my hard drive first? That prospect worries me a lot, because there's data I'd definitely lose - not critical data, but useful stuff.

Any suggestions or advice?
bobquasit: (Default)
Okay, here's a possibility. Tell me what you think. I'm not married to this or anything, and it's really more than I should spend...hell, it doesn't even include a monitor. And I'm still not determined to go to PCs for Everyone. So please be honest!

http://www.pcsforeveryone.com/System/Intel_2100_Series/4750

Has anyone tried NewEgg? Are they good?

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